United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Nepal

Statement by His Excellency Mr. Durga Prasad Bhattarai, Ambassador/ Permanent
Representative of Nepal to the United Nations (UN) and Head of Nepali Delegation to the UN
High Level Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14:
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable
development (or, the Oceans Conference), at its General Debate
New York, Friday 09 June 2017 (1500-1800hrs)
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Honourable Co-Presidents (Prime Minister of Fiji and DPM-FM of Sweden);
Excellencies (Heads of State and Government, Hon. Ministers; Heads of Delegations),
President of the General Assembly, HE Peter Thomson; President of the UN-ECOSOC, HE
Frederick Shava
UNSG HE Antonio Guterres; Secretary-General of the Conference, Mr. Wu Hongbo, USG
Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I bring with me warm greetings and best wishes, and a strong message of solidarity from Nepal for
the successful conduct and fruitful conclusion of this first ever UN conference on Oceans.
Nepal congratulates the Republic of Fiji and the Kingdom of Sweden for their election as Co-
Presidents of this historic conference, and lauds their lead roles in its preparation.
The President of the General Assembly, His Excellency Peter Thomson, deserves all our accolades
for delivering on his promise of convening such a conference. Peter, as the architect and mentor of
the conference throughout, you will be remembered for making oceans perhaps the boldest
substantive highlight of the Asia-Pacific presidency of the 71st session of the UN General
Assembly where Nepal is also honoured to serve as a Vice President.
We commend Ambassadors Burhan Gafoor of Singapore and Alvaro Mendonca e Moura of
Portugal, for their excellent stewardship to the inclusive and transparent consultations leading to
the timely finalization of the political declaration, “Call for Action,”- for adoption by the
Conference today.
Our appreciation also goes to Mr. Wu Hongbo, USG/DESA and Secretary-General of this
Conference and his team, as well as the Law of the Sea Division of the UN Office of Legal Affairs,
for their support throughout the process.
I associate my statement with the statements of the Group of 77 and China, the Group of the Land
Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Oceans are where the life originated. Oceans continue to significantly help nourish and flourish
humankind as a common heritage. Oceans are the primary regulator of the global climate, and the
marine resources are integral to the globe’s endowment for eradicating poverty, creating jobs and
sustainable livelihoods, bringing about food and nutrition security and ensuring sustained
socioeconomic growth through international trade, and ultimately sustaining life on earth.
However, the adverse effects of climate change and other insensitive human activities have
declined the health and resilience of oceans and seas over the decades. It has not only put ocean
ecosystem at risk, but also posed existential threat to the rich flora and fauna there.
When oceans are not well, mother Earth cannot be well. The effects of the Oceans’ ills reach
everywhere, such that we cannot remain unreached by the adverse effects of climate change
anywhere; for example, be it marine or coastal ecosystems- in their physical or biogenic structure,
manifest in the bleaching of coral reefs and cold water habitats, ocean acidification, deoxygenation,
salinity, or reduced polar ice, and increased avalanches and outbursts of glaciers in
the Himalayas, among others.
The global warming-induced floods and landslides, erratic and extreme weather patterns, loss of
biodiversity and distressed mountain ecosystem affect the lives and livelihoods of millions of
people, and all these phenomena directly or indirectly contribute to, inter alia, the coastal erosion
and sea-level rise which pose existential threat to many of the very small island developing states
today.
Nepal has unwavering solidarity with these countries and peoples, more importantly the farmers
and fishermen, who have to bear the brunt of the challenge on the front lines. While leading the
LDCs at UNFCCC negotiations or other times, Nepal has always stood in full solidarity with SIDS
in their continuous fight to build health and resilience of oceans. We believe all countries have a
resolute duty towards conserving and making use of the oceans, seas and marine resources in a
healthy and sustainable manner and to save countries and peoples from the existential threats. It is
indeed the shared responsibility of all stakeholders of the world economy--- island or mainland,
developed or developing, and states or non-state --- to conserve the oceans, sustainably use the
marine biodiversity and other resources.
My delegation notes with satisfaction that the Oceans Conference holds the promise to turn the tide
in the use of oceans and seas and marine resources, most importantly by providing an opportunity
for Member States to muster the requisite political will, synergy and resources for the effective
implementation of SDG 14 and its targets. It has brought together all the stakeholders to renew or
make commitments afresh, and take collective actions towards achieving SDG 14 while also
seeking to ensure the wellbeing of the planet and sustainable prosperity of humanity.
We have recognized all along the integrated and indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development, and emphasized that its implementation should be advanced in the spirit
of the holistic approach to the inter-connected nature of SDGs, with a focus on the most vulnerable
countries and peoples. Full and sincere implementation of Goal 14 would entail implementing all
relevant components of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Rio+20 Declaration, Addis
Ababa Action Agenda, SAMOA Pathway, as well as Istanbul and Vienna Programmes of Action.
Nepal believes that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) should be the legal basis
for the implementation of SDG 14.
Nepal underscores the need of capacity building, transfer of technology, raising awareness,
education and necessary financial resources for SDG 14 in the developing countries, in particular
SIDS, LDCs, landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) as well as coastal African States so that
these countries would be able to better integrate SDG 14 in their national plans and policies, adapt
mitigation measures combating the climate change and participate in the global and regional
processes on oceans and seas. We believe that marine-related capacity building for LLDCs will
also be built into the implementation of the SDGs. We also stress the principle of common but
differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) in this regard.
Although Nepal is a land-locked country, over 4.5 million Nepali people (or over 15% of its
population) work outside Nepal, including in various island and coastal countries, several thousand
of them serving as sea-farers. Therefore, Nepal wishes to make use of all opportunities to inform,
orient, train and educate its young people, professionals, officials as well as seafarers and others
likely to work in or near seas and oceans on their responsibility towards water, Himalayas, seas
and oceans in general, so as to create a more aware citizenry and skilled personnel as part of
capacity building as well.
Distinguished Presidents,
Nepal welcomes the Call for Action as a concise, inclusive, and action oriented outcome of this
Conference, reached through a transparent process and taking into account the concerns of
different vulnerable groups, while embracing wider inter-connected ecosystems impacting coastal
ecosystem in its fold. We believe there is a lot that can be done building on the organic linkage
existing between the oceans and mountains.
My delegation fully supports the “multi-stakeholder approach” involving governments, intergovernmental
and non-governmental organizations, private sectors, civil society, academia,
scientists, philanthropists, technical experts, local community, women and youth to actively
engage to serve the common goal of preserving and protecting the oceans and seas.
In closing, Nepal stands ready to join hands in in pursuit of the timely implementation, review and
follow up of SDG 14 together with interconnected SDGs. We are confident that this Conference
marks a noble beginning of a long process and provides a meaningful boost to the imminent High
Level Political Forum (HLPF) next month concerning the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as a
whole in an integrated and holistic manner.
I thank you for your kind attention.
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